Meet a Member

Meet a Member: Barret Van Sicklen

barretName: Barret Van Sicklen

Years in Magnet: (Not sure  how long I have been a member – I know it has been off and on for a long time)

Position: Board Member

 

1. What is your favorite thing about being part of Magnet?

Magnet is great because it brings together like-minded young professionals to connect and collaborate.  I truly believe that Magnet helps make Madison a better place to live -- and we have fun doing it!

2. What do you as a career? What is your favorite part about it?

I am an attorney at DeWitt Ross & Stevens.  In addition to the people (DeWitt is a fantastic place to work), I enjoy helping people and/or businesses with their problems.  Because of the type of law I practice – litigation and labor/employment – I typically work with clients that are either in litigation, or on the verge of being in litigation.  That can be stressful; especially for those that have never been involved with court proceedings before.  Therefore, being able to work with them during this stressful time and find solutions to their problems brings me great satisfaction.

3. What do you do when you’re not working or hanging out with other Magnet members?

When not at the office, I love spending time with my wife (and best friend) Kelly, our wild and crazy toddler Owen, and our energetic dog Murphy.  I also enjoy playing/coaching soccer and cheering on the Badger basketball and football teams.

4. Tell us something about yourself that most people probably don’t know.

That I am a reality television junkie.  It is borderline embarrassing; I think I enjoy them because they are typically so stupid that, after a day spent using my brain, I can turn my brain off while watching them.

Also, I was born in San Francisco

5. What is a goal (personal/professional) you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?

Professionally: I think it would be amazing to argue in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Personally: If I am shooting for the moon, I think it would be awesome to purchase a fixer-upper cabin on a lake within driving distance of Madison.

6. Money aside, what is your dream job? 

Professional Traveler.  I looked it up, and apparently this exists -- getting paid to travel!

Meet a Member: Brad Grzesiak

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brad

Name: Brad Grzesiak

Years in Magnet: Gosh, I dunno. I joined when Rebecca was still Executive Director. So that's like 8 years or so?

Position: Board Member

 

What prompted you to join Magnet? I originally joined Magnet a couple years out of college: I went to UW–Madison and, after graduation, I saw way too many of my friends find jobs or grad school in faraway places. After a couple years of hanging out with mostly friends from work, I wanted to expand my social circle outside of only engineers. I found Magnet and joined after going to just one happy hour. Almost immediately after joining, I found myself volunteering on the Community Involvement Committee, and I've been hooked ever since.

What do you as a career? What is your favorite part about it? I'm CEO of a software development consultancy. I absolutely love empowering my employees learn and create new things. We even set aside 8 hours each week to focus on professional development. I'm thrilled we are able to stick to our vision of sharing joy and success in our craft.

What do you do when you’re not working or hanging out with other Magnet members? I've been playing ultimate frisbee for about 8 years now, and I absolutely love it! While I typically claim "it's stress-relieving exercise," the truth is that I just really enjoy playing an active sport full of such friendly people. If you haven't played, there are typically men's, women's, and coed leagues available in the spring, summer, and fall.

Tell us something about yourself that most people probably don’t know. In college, I experienced about 12 minutes (in 25 second chunks) of zero gravity aboard NASA's Vomit Comet... er, "Weightless Wonder." I was on a team project that developed a robot designed to navigate the space station. And yes, I would totally do it again.

What achievement are you most proud of? As co-founder of a small company, I'm most proud of the sponsorship we've been able to give to programs aimed at the underprivileged, like Rails Girls Summer of Code and YWeb Career Academy. I'm even more excited about the bigger impacts we can make in the future.

Money aside, what is your dream job?  Prior to my current career, I thought I had already found my dream job. When combined with what I do now, that makes 2 dream jobs already, so I'm not one to assume that there's One True Job out there for me. That said, I *have* legitimately applied to be an astronaut before.